Learn how to make marshmallows from egg whites, sugar, and gelatin with this recipe.
They say that the shorter the ingredient list, the harder it is to master. It's true.
- Chocolate ganache is deceptively simple with only two ingredients, yet to achieve that perfect emulsion can be quite challenging.
- Meringue is made from egg whites, sugar, and water, and it too is one of the more difficult recipes to master and get just right every time, especially if you want to make a very stable meringue for an Italian meringue buttercream.
I think marshmallows fall into this category as well.
I made these marshmallows from egg whites, gelatin, sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla. They worked, as you can see from the photos, but they weren't perfect (mine were a little wet on the bottom until I dumped them in icing sugar and cornstarch).
Can you make marshmallows without gelatin?
I have tried to replace the gelatin with agar agar. Turns out agar agar cannot be used to make proper marshmallows because it can't support their structure. My gelatin-free marshmallows looked, tasted, and smelled like marshmallows, but they were too fragile. They were not good marshmallows.
If you are anti-gelatin (which is understandable), I'll save you the trouble and disappointment: don't use agar agar. Just don't bother. Try something else. Apparently carrageenan is a good one to try (though I have yet to test it).
Flavouring with vanilla
While some bakers add vanilla bean to their marshmallow recipes, I prefer using pure vanilla extract and adding it at the end of the recipe to avoid damaging the flavour compounds. If you'd rather see the flecks of vanilla seeds, an alternative for the vanilla extract would be vanilla bean paste. Add the same amount!
When to serve them
Marshmallows are great in the winter to serve with mugs of hot chocolate or hot cocoa. You can toast them and garnish milk chocolate pots de crème or these s'more bars.
- 140 grams cornstarch
- 140 grams icing sugar
- 2 envelopes Knox unflavoured gelatin powder
- 125+ 80 mL cold water, divided
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams corn syrup
- 4 large egg white(s)
- 1 pinch Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Sift together the cornstarch and icing sugar into a bowl and set aside for later.
- In a small cup, sprinkle the gelatin over 125 mL of water. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, place the 80 mL of water, followed by the granulated sugar and corn syrup. Attach your candy thermometer to the saucepan, making sure that the tip of the probe is not touching the bottom of the pan. Begin heating the syrup over medium–high heat.
- Place the egg whites with a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat them on low til frothy.
- When the syrup boils, increase the mixer speed to high until the whites form stiff peaks.
- When the syrup reaches 250°F, take the saucepan off the heat and remove the thermometer, and then slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl and over the whites, with the mixer running on low, being sure to not hit the beaters with the syrup.
- When the syrup is all added, increase the mixer speed to medium–high. Meanwhile, add the bloomed gelatin mixture to the saucepan and melt it over very low heat til the solution is clear, then add the dissolved gelatin to the mixer bowl, along with the vanilla.
- Beat the marshmallow mixture until it is cold.
- Dust a parchment-lined rimmed quarter sheet pan with half the icing sugar mixture prepared earlier, then pour the marshmallow mixture on top and smooth it.
- Let the marshmallows dry for several hours before cutting them (with well oiled scissors or oiled cookie cutters). Immediately toss the marshmallows in the powdered sugar mixture before storing.
This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz.
Oh they look really cute!
Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite says
I've NEVER celebrated St Valentine's Day either but, like you, am a sucker for the heart shaped candies and confections. I am heartened to hear that an amazing baker like yourself finds simple things challenging - I couldn't agree more (look at macarons, for goodness' sakes!). Marshmallows I find exceptionally challenging but they are on my list for this year. I'll try this version for sure!
Janice Lawandi says
So true! Macarons look so simple on paper, but in practice, even the most talented of pastry chefs have bad weeks where they just don't work!